It's been a 4-year journey, but COAST is pleased to report that the reign of intimidation of the Ohio Elections Commission over political speech in Ohio appears to be coming to an end.
Yesterday, COAST and the SBA List presented their arguments in their landmark case against the Ohio Elections Commission asserting that Ohio's "False Statements" law is unconstitutional. Our followers may recall that this case went to the United States Supreme Court in April on the issue of "standing," i.e., whether COAST and the SBA List had the right to be in Court to challenge the law at all.
In a strong rebuke to the 6th Circuit, the Court ruled 9-0 in a Clarence Thomas-authored opinion that COAST and SBA List did have standing to challenge the law.
The reason that "standing" was so important is that most legal scholars agreed that once a Plaintiff could actually present the underlying constitutional arguments against the False Statements law, it quickly would fall.
That appeared to be what happened yesterday -- or what is about to happen next week, as Judge Timothy Black strongly intimated at the close of oral argument that a decision striking the statute would come out within the next 10 days.
Of course the OEC has every right to appeal the decision, and to seek a "stay" pending appeal, but as Judge Black said from the bench, the "handwriting is on the wall" as to this statute. It is just a matter of time before the OEC's interference in our electoral processes comes to a glorious end.
[p.s., COAST has a separate case pending in front of Federal Judge Michael Barrett, the "Tweets Case," dealing with COAST's statements on Twitter in the 2011 election on the Streetcar ballot issue and a different section of the "False Statements" statute than that addressed in the SBA List case. That case is a good 2-3 months behind the SBA List case in terms of getting resolved, but we expect a similar outcome.]